Anyone traveling the Cross County Trail under the Pohick Road bridge that runs over Pohick Creek will find that the concrete under the bridge, once covered in spray-painted graffiti, is now covered with a different kind of paint — an even coat of white, latex emulsion.
Four volunteers from the Youth Activities Group of the Lorton Community Action Center and one from the Mason Neck Lions Club painted over the graffiti under the Lorton-area bridge on Friday afternoon, Aug. 3.
Joe Chudzik said he and his fellow Lions try to involve local youth in community service through their club’s Cultural/Community Activities program. Past projects have included tree plantings and highway, park and stream cleanups. Standing under the Pohick Road bridge, surrounded by crude slogans and inscrutable "tags," he noted that the Cross County Trail is actually Fairfax County parkland. "It’s a nature trail," said Chudzik. "People are supposed to come out here and enjoy nature, and they see this."
He said the Lions Club especially tries to engage youths while they are on breaks from school.
The Community Action Center’s Youth Activities Group, which operates out of the Lorton Community Resource Center on Richmond Highway, also tries to participate in occasional community service programs.
Troy Morris, one of the young volunteers who participated in Friday’s cleanup and a rising ninth-grader at Hayfield Secondary School, said he drops in almost daily at the Resource Center, where he enjoys "seeing friends and hanging."
Lorton Station Elementary third-grader Madora Kamara said she visits the center almost every day to use its computer center. Neither had planned on doing any painting that day, but the volunteers made short work of the job once they got underway.
Chuzdik noted that the fresh coat of paint would offer vandals "a new, blank canvas to work with," acknowledging that the taggers may return. "But, if you paint it over again, they usually stop."
The paint for the cleanup was donated by the Fairfax Sheriff’s Community Labor Force, and the Lions Club provided the equipment, as well as bottled water, soft drinks and cookies.